Thursday, November 15, 2012

Robot Parade

It just took me three (3!) times to prove to blogger than I'm not a robot and should be allowed to comment on a friend's blog. I find these things stressful and difficult. Combined with the correct sign-in credentials requirement, they create a barrier to entry in the commenting market which usually results in a text "LIKE" to the author.

Now the funny thing about this is that I've never gotten the whole robot-cult thing. My strongest reaction to a robot was one featured in a Mr. Rogers episode, and I think the reason I liked that was just that I liked all his field-trip episodes. I've watched a tidy few sci-fi films in my day, but if asked why they featured so many robots I would have said that robots have lots of wires and electronics in them and geeks like that sort of thing.

It turns out there's a deeper human experience theme here, which I first learned about when I told a friend I'd liked the movie AI (Artificial Intelligence — this was forever ago). In fact, I'd liked the little dance the robot did, and liked going to see it with my brother, and felt like I probably should like it especially since one or the other of us had shelled out actual hard cash to see it in the theatre (a compelling reason, also the reason I liked The Blair Witch Project), but in retrospect I'm not sure that really qualifies as liking the movie.

My friend responded with enthusiasm that it was a great movie because it tapped into a universal fear and experience of feeling like a robot. Shock overcame what little tact I'd earned at that point, and I exclaimed, "What?! Why would anyone feel that way??" My friend lapsed into hurt silence which was made worse when it became clear that I honestly wanted to know, so I've never learned what is behind this phenomena: how does it happen? Is medically unnecessary hormone therapy behind it? Is it a result of public schooling? Water from plastic bottles? Being allowed to watch Transformers at a young age despite the resulting nightmares? Watching Transformers at a young age and NOT having nightmares?

I feel like I can navigate the universe of Dostoevsky and Faulkner ("How does it feel to be a deeply impoverished share-cropper who's murdered an old money-lender in St Petersburg? Oh, I've *been* there"), but the popular blogger who admits to feeling like a computer leaves me flummoxed. Maybe this is related to those mysterious phlegmatics, except that phlegmatics are fairly rare and this is apparently a common experience.

Zombies, on the other hand, are hilarious, readily understandable, and should be imitated every day for at least two hours after waking. I'm especially good at the shower scene from Shawn of the Dead.

2 comments:

Mrs. Bear said...

I know the feeling of being bewildered by something that's supposed to be a common sentiment--usually it has to do with some kind of cultural stereotype involving women's interests, or somesuch. Maybe the universal sentiment is that people have universal sentiments about universal sentiments, or things that supposedly are.

Flannery said...

YES on the stereotypes. Yes I'm a woman, no I don't need to buy a new pair of shoes every single year.

For the robot thing, I'm wondering if an extra helping of adversity provides immunity to it: if it takes heroic effort to get the money together for grocery shopping or heroic effort to get out of bed and into the shower, then your daily tasks can't become rote and mechanical.